Credits. New variation on the theme song, which is easily my favorite of any of the four seasons of The Wire on record. At least until Michael Bolton's silky baritone belts out "When you walk through the garden..." to open Season 5. Oh, you hadn't heard about that yet? Yeah, totally true.
"Don't matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin' the same." Bodie said this line earlier to Poot while berating him for his choice in paramours, though I suspect it could apply to any one of a number of Wire characters in a wide variety of circumstances. Like poor Sydnor of the recently re-assembled Major Case Unit, who has just stepped in dog shit while stepping into a garbage-strewn apartment. "You hope," say McNulty, who follows him into the room. The two are here, keeping tabs on Cheese, who, a quick cutaway to the org chart over at Major Case reminds us, is a lieutenant under Proposition Joe. Cheese must be of particular interest to the Unit, because Freamon, Prez, and Massey (Joilet F. Harris) are listening to a wiretap in which one particularly chatty knucklehead demands to speak with Cheese, either to "saddle up and put another bat on the motherfucker" (Freamon's interpretation) or "settle up and put another bet on the motherfucker" (Prez's). Before we can delve into the semantic differences, another call comes in, placed by the young man who fielded the chatty knucklehead's request to someone I can only assume is Cheese's appointments secretary. Where are those handy cutaways to expository org charts when I need them? Anyhow, the conditions of the meeting are kept vague over the phone. The appointments secretary hangs up, whispers into Cheese's ear, and the two drive off. "These guys come correct," Sydnor observes to McNulty from his shit-stained vantage point. "The phones only go so far. Above that, it's all done as a face-to-face meeting." "Three months," exclaims Freamon in another part of Baltimore. "And we've yet to hear his voice." Well, at least your job is packed with challenges. That has to be of some comfort, right? No? None whatsoever? Carry on, then.
Speaking of dispiritingly fruitless efforts: over in the Western, Sergeant Carver and his band of merry men are working out plans to disrupt the local drug traffic by apprehending their quote of juvenile drug-slingers. When they pull up, Carver explains, one of the little bandits will run off, in the hopes that all the police will chase him -- only this time, Carver and the gang will stick around and arrest everyone else in sight. A brilliant tactical plan, General. I don't see how it can possibly fail, except for the fact that everything on this show almost invariably does. Nevertheless, Carver and his men saddle up, Herc firing up the theme from Shaft on his car's hi-fi. And I know the idea here is to make Herc look like a bigger tool than normal and I heartily endorse that policy -- but I'm also man enough to admit that in my lowly beat reporter days, I was not above popping a mix tape featuring the vocal stylings of Isaac Hayes into my tape deck and turning up the volume to get all fired up en route to a difficult assignment. (Also on that mix tape: Black Sabbath's "The Wizard" and a thrash metal version of "Disco Inferno.") So if playing the theme from Shaft loud and proud makes you a tool, then I'll just have to join Herc in the ol' tool chest. I welcome your contempt. I thrive on it.